HELLO THERE, WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU
LOURIS VAN DE GEER
“Hello there, we’ve been waiting for you! It’s time to play Truth or Consequences!”
A small town in the New Mexico desert changes its name to the name of a television game show called Truth or Consequences in the 1950’s. Sixty years later, someone in a library in Australia tells me about the town and I book a plane ticket from Melbourne to attend the annual Truth or Consequences Fiesta. “Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting For You” is the play I wrote about this town. It’s a play about wanting to be on the map, and staying there, about having a dream of something bigger and finding a way to get it, about transformation and remembering the past. The renaming of Truth or Consequences taps into a collective desire for immortality.
“Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting For You” pieces together the fragmented narratives of a town in New Mexico and a dated TV show to tell a new local narrative for Australians. The story of the town represents the fragility of identity, as well as the complexities that come when one tries to reinvent history and the disconnectedness that comes with the individualistic pursuit of being ‘seen.’
In the play, worlds are erected and discarded, a room is only half a room and the laughter is only a recording. Unrelated scenes happen in and around each other to knit together the narrative of a society doing its best to be noticed. A young girl practices for the annual Truth or Consequences Beauty Pageant, an ageing game show host fails to recognise himself in a mirror, people audition for their fifteen minutes of fame, stories are re-worked for the ratings and images appear on screens only to be replaced in the next frame.
The performance took place in a television studio in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and consisted of live on-stage action as well as live and pre-recorded video footage. In creating and documenting this performance I continue the quest, like the residents of Truth or Consequences, to being remembered.